Big Sky native buys Maverick Mountain


Kristi Knaub and her fiancé Erik Borge, along with two other college friends, purchased Maverick Mountain Ski Area in Polaris, Mont. for $600,000 late this fall. They opened Maverick for the season on Dec. 19 and its one riblet chairlift spins Thursdays through Sundays.

Kristi, 28, grew up ski racing in Big Sky and is a Montana State University graduate. In addition to helping with ski area operations, Kristi is teaching eight students in the one-room schoolhouse at the base of the mountain. She and Borge have been living in a 32-foot motorhome in Maverick’s parking lot since June.

“They have a very loyal base – a lot of local people from Dillon and surrounding ranch families,” said Kristi’s father, Big Sky resident J.C. Knaub, adding that the mountain has been a destination for skiers since the 1940s.

Skier visits at Maverick have been strong so far this season and the mountain has received good snowfall, according to J.C.

“The whole vibe is like Bridger [Bowl] in the 60s,” J.C. said. “God bless them for keeping the mom and pop vibe alive. It’s skiing the way it’s supposed to be.”

Ice fishing tournament hits Hebgen Lake Jan. 15-17


West Yellowstone will host a North American Ice Fishing Circuit national qualifier with a weekend full of events Jan. 15-17. The tournament takes place on Sunday at Hebgen Lake, is open to two-person teams and registration closes Saturday night.

Family activities, product demonstrations and free educational opportunities are planned in conjunction with the tournament. One of the most popular activities of the weekend is the free kid’s ice fishing camp taking place Jan.16 at Kirkwood Resort and Marina on Hebgen Lake. Other activities happening in West Yellowstone during the weekend include the Fun Run Sled Dog Race and the Kids’N’Snow event with free sledding and skating.

Throughout the weekend, ice fishing professionals and members of the USA Ice Fishing Team will share their knowledge and demonstrate their technical skills.

Tournament participants will have access to classroom instruction, ice fishing equipment and technique demonstration, and information about safety, conservation and environmental stewardship.

Thousands of dollars in cash and prizes will be awarded to the top teams, with the top ten finishing teams receiving an invitation to the 2015 NAIFC National/North American Championship to be held in December in Minnesota.

For more information on the NAIFC including how to enter, visit or call (320) 252-0428. For a detailed event schedule, visit Lodging information is available from the West Yellowstone Visitor Center at (406) 646-7701 and at

D’Amico named executive director of Christian organization


BOZEMAN – Gallatin County Love In The Name of Christ, also known as Love INC, appointed Big Sky’s Sheila D’Amico on Dec. 21 as its new executive director.

Big Sky Resort’s former public relations manager, D’Amico brings experience to Love INC by serving on nonprofit boards, as well as working in public relations, sales, and business management.

“I’m blessed to have the opportunity to bring together my skills and faith with Love INC,” D’Amico said. “It’s exciting to see so many churches working together to meet the continually growing needs of our county.”

Love INC unites Christian churches to fully engage in actively living out their faith by serving people in need in their community. Love INC accomplishes this by fielding requests for help, providing an analysis of the need, and matching partner church volunteers to respond to those needs, as well as working with local agencies.

“We are very excited to have Sheila as our new executive director,” said Marc Yeley, the 2016 Gallatin County Love INC board president. “Sheila has a love for Christ that radiates to everyone she is near.”

D’Amico worked for 13 years in television and video production, as well as working in the ski industry at Whitefish Mountain and Big Sky resorts. She is a Rotary Club of Big Sky board member and former board member of the United Way in Kalispell.

Big Sky Resort hires new public relations firm


Big Sky Resort welcomed back Kate Ketschek in early January, signing her company Revolution House Media as its public relations agency. Ketschek managed the resort’s marketing initiatives from 1999-2007 before moving to the East Coast for nearly a decade.

“It was perfect timing,” said Big Sky Resort Director of Marketing Lyndsey Owens. “We were looking for someone to spearhead our national and international communications and knew Kate was moving back to the area.”

Owens added that finding someone who intimately knew the mountain, the resort and it’s history, was an ideal situation.

“My heart has always been in Big Sky,” Ketschek said. “This is my third time moving to the community and I see it being the last – there’s no place like it. And Lone Peak, well, I haven’t skied anywhere else that compares.”

With El Niño being all the buzz this ski season, Big Sky Resort analyzed its 33 years of snow data, and noted 10 of those have been El Niño years – and 60 percent of those El Niño years have resulted in above average or average snowfall at the resort.

As of EBS press time on Jan. 6, Big Sky’s mid-mountain base depth was 36 inches and the summit station was reporting 54 inches.

Gubernatorial hopeful made $220M over 10 years

By Matt Volz Associated Press

HELENA (AP) – Technology entrepreneur and Republican gubernatorial hopeful Greg Gianforte reported income of $220.5 million and federal and state tax payments of nearly $35 million between 2005 and 2014, according to his tax returns.

The Bozeman businessman is exploring a run for governor in 2016, four years after selling RightNow Technologies, the software company he founded in 1997, to Oracle for $1.8 billion. He released 10 years of federal and state income tax returns in response to a request from The Associated Press.

Gianforte told the AP that he released his tax returns because he believes in transparency and because one of Montana’s biggest problems is low-paying jobs that force young people to seek work outside the state.

“What Montana needs is more transparency, and if nothing else, this shows that people can prosper from Montana,” he said.

However, the state Democratic Party says Gianforte’s wealth could very well become a factor in a gubernatorial bid.

“It’s going to be difficult for him to relate to Montanans when he’s flying around in a private jet,” Montana Democratic Party spokesman Jason Pitt said.

Gianforte, who moved to Bozeman in 1995, told the AP that the question for Montana voters is whether they want someone like him to create more jobs so their kids don’t have to leave the state.

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